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Crafts Council Innovation programme and Parallel Practices residencies launched

Ed Vaizey MP launches innovation programme and announces Parallel Practices residencies 

Last night Ed Vaizey, Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy, officially launched the Crafts Council's new innovation programme and announced the four teams selected for the Parallel Practices residencies.

Parallel Practices is a pilot project partnering makers and medical and scientific academics, developed by the Crafts Council in partnership with the Cultural Institute at King's College London.  

The project, which forms part of the Crafts Council’s innovation programme, aims to demonstrate the mutual benefits and value of collaboration between academics and makers and stimulate learning and innovation through a focus on the body, materials and processes.

The following four residences will take place between 22 September and 22 December 2014;  

  • Richard Wingate, Principal Investigator at the MRC Centre for Developmental Neurobiology at King’s, and Celia Pym, textile maker, will explore ‘mending’ in anatomy and the relationships between care and caretaking in textile repair and studying anatomy.
  • Richard Wingate and Tamsin van Essen, ceramicist, will explore anatomy through a series of new directions. Tamsin will use clay to interpret and mimic the same physical and material processes and transformations as anatomy.
  • Matthew Howard, lecturer in robotics at the Department of Informatics, and Karina Thompson, textile maker, will stimulate debate about the nature of stitch in the 21st century and show its value in cutting-edge robotics.
  • Thrishantha Nanayakkara, principal investigator of the Laboratory for Morphological Computation and Learning, Les Bicknell, book artist, and Naomi Mcintosh, jeweller, will explore extending current soft robotics through model-making and look at ways of controlling movement and articulation of objects in order to build new structures.

Deborah Bull, Director of Cultural Partnerships at King’s College London said:
“By pairing makers with academics, this innovative programme promises to inspire new perspectives with the potential to deliver both research breakthroughs and new approaches to creativity. These are exactly the kind of partnerships between the sector and academia that we are intent on exploring at King’s and I’m particularly excited to see the range of academic disciplines involved.”
Annie Warburton, Creative Programmes Director at the Crafts Council said:
“When culture and science collide it’s to creative effect for both.  Collaboration sparks scientific insights and artistic breakthroughs.  The Crafts Council is thrilled to partner with the Cultural Institute at King’s on Parallel Practices.  Bringing together fields as diverse as ceramics and neuroscience, textiles and robotics, these pairings of makers with medical and scientific researchers are exemplary of how we’re stimulating new work through the Crafts Council innovation programme.”


For more information on Parallel Practices please contact Chris Baker at Four Colman Getty PR on chris.baker@fourcolmangetty.com or  +44 (0) 203 697 4252 

For more information on the Crafts Council please contact Jill Read in the press office on media@craftscouncil.org.uk or +44 (0) 207 806 2500 

For more information on the Cultural Institute at King’s please contact Vicky McGuire on vicky.1.mcguire@kcl.ac.uk  or +44 (0) 207 848 7873   

Notes to Editors

The Parallel Practices teams will be presenting their work to date at the Make:Shift conference from 20 to 21 November at Ravensbourne, London. For tickets and more information visit www.make-shift.org.uk 

The Crafts Council innovation programme focuses on how advances in materials, processes and technologies are driving innovation in craft practice, catalysing new knowledge, and seeding interdisciplinary collaborations across craft and engineering, science and technology. 

About the Cultural Institute at King’s 

The Cultural Institute at King’s College London is a flagship initiative for Culture at King’s. The Institute connects the College with practitioners, producers, policy makers and participants across arts and culture, creating space where conventions are challenged and original perspectives emerge. It aims to ensure that thinking generated within King’s delivers benefits and drives innovation across the cultural sector, and that arts and culture inspire new approaches to research and learning throughout the College. For more information visit www.kcl.ac.uk/cultural